Fighting back: Post 3 final

2015 Student Protests in a Nutshell - Imgur

What republicans think we’re doing.  “2015 Student Protests in a Nutshell” by   15 december 2015 via imgur

So how do you fight back against any enmy when you have little to no money, minimal time (because students), and will be demonized if you get too loud? Your guess is as good as mine, but until we get money and power, we need to read. If they won’t teach you Keynesian economics, but you’re interested, unfortunately you need to read up on it by yourself. I know it’s fascinating, but if they won’t teach us we need to find the resources for ourselves. Fortunately, with the internet that is easier than ever before, unfortunately you might fall asleep by the time you start looking at graphs. Protesting is also an option, the hard part is finding a way to protest which cannot be spun into making us look like babies.

3648596_876fc7f453_z

What we’re really doing. By Chris Adams on 2 December 2004 Via flicker 

This campus preformed a silent protest to stand up against sexual assault, and the method is used for other things, like a yearly protest for the rights of the lgbt people. I wonder what that format would look if students used it to protest a speaker they did not want on campus because they happen to be a bigot or part of the Trump administration.    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sv52nk0IZu8

Perhaps a silent protest might be received better, but there is also a chance it won’t have any impact at all which is the worst possible outcome. So what else can we do? How do we make our universities beholden to the students again? The honest answer is that I’m not really sure, perhapse more progressive people need to get on their schools activity boards in order to gain access to some of the funding and be able to vote against campus speakers who are bigots. Maybe we all drop out and teach ourselves, but that won’t get us very far. I think for now our best bet is to continue to loudly protest these speakers when we can and to calenge conservative view points when they are mentioned in class. If you are an econ student at a college with a free enterprise center, make sure you question what’s going on in your classes, don’t let them tell you there is only one way out of a recession, and that is tightening the belt. Today, we as students need to be vigilant about who is teaching us what and what their motivations are. This is unfortunate, but necessary. We need to be ready to advocate for ourselves within higher-ed or else we will end up beliving whatever we are taught blindly.

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Get em’ while their young: Final post 2

Une balance à fléau AntonyB at French Wikipedia

Une balance a fleau by Antonty B. At French Wikipedia created 25 March 2006

The strategy talked about in my first post is incredibly indicative of the right wing, if their ideas cannot hold up they shout until they have the only ideas available. The right has been systemically shifting what the political center is to the right for decades, resulting in things like the aca, being based loosely based off a Republican healthcare bill from the 1990’s. Today however the republicans are desperately trying to repeal it in order to pass the monstrosity that is the AHCA, a terrifying bill that will leave millions without health care coverage; this is obviously the right thing to do. The way they get away with it is by presenting it as the only and best option.

 

If we had a better option it would cost more money. If it cost more money we would need to raise taxes, those taxes would be levied on low income people and the middle class who would be crushed by it and then be able to gain any upward mobility. This is how they present the argument over and over without going into the nuance of our other options.

They start this push early. We’re told that elite Ivy League schools are bastions of liberalism, where conservative students dare not tread, when they are practically the definition of establishment. Occasionally a student group protest white nationalists like Charles Murry, a man invited to Middlebury College by the Free Enterprise Center on campus which is an organization supported by the Koch brothers. When students dare to protest the white nationalists which come to their campuses, people automatically get up in arms over the fact that young liberal college students cannot listen to or respect new conservative ideas. This argument ignores the fact that the United States is a fairly conservative nation and that many struggle to accept any liberal ideas while these students are being force fed conservative ideology in economics classes. Even “liberal publications” become worried about these people’s rights to free speech, what they seem to be conveniently forgetting is that it is not the government censoring this man and that students have just as much of a right to free speech as any old white guy. It’s one thing when a group of students protest a man on their campus, it would have been an entirely different issue, if say, he was shouted down by a room full of on duty police officers.

If students can’t protest, and they cannot pick the curriculum taught to them this gives them very little power over the academic setting. So far the right is winning this front, they get to make conservative curriculum, and then they get to cry about the first amendment when students use their voices, because they don’t have any money, to fight for the ideology at their campus. I often don’t agree with some of the protests at colleges and universities, but I think in comparison to buying out an entire department that these demonstrations are mundane and harmless.

Buying Academia 1: Final project

Economic issues are at the heart of many of our current political struggles, even the ones that may seem unrelated to the financial market. Issues with immigration are linked to the fear many people have of not being able to find a job because they are being undercut by a person who is willing to do the job for far less. People are scared that if more people are moving in or if more people are joining the work force there will be more competition for jobs and therefore less pay. The political right uses this fear of losing economic resources to promote their goals. They make individuals believe that by instituting both harsh economic and social policies individuals will have their slice of the American pie protected.

The thing the conservative right has become best at is propaganda, they target lower class less educated people with simple talking points spewed all over fox news and reinforce their fears of other people coming in and taking what is theirs. However, the propaganda does not just target low income people, they also strive to capture the minds of the future leaders of the nation. The Koch Brothers, a pair of ultra-conservative ultra-rich dudes who want to change the way economics gets taught. The family has an interesting history with capitalism, and really help to prove that you can be both scrupulous and a good business man. For example Fred Koch, the brother’s father, made a fortune building oil fields for both Stalin and Hitler. He probably wasn’t a Nazi, but morally that’s not a very high bar. There of the brothers also blackmailed the eldest son, Fredrick, out of his shares for being gay, because that’s good business. When you see an opportunity exploit it.

Economic issues are at the heart of many of our current political struggles, even the ones that may seem unrelated to the financial market. Issues with immigration are linked to the fear many people have of not being able to find a job because they are being undercut by a person who is willing to do the job for far less. People are scared that if more people are moving in or if more people are joining the work force there will be more competition for jobs and therefore less pay. The political right uses this fear of losing economic resources to promote their goals. They make individuals believe that by instituting both harsh economic and social policies individuals will have their slice of the American pie protected.

The thing the conservative right has become best at is propaganda, they target lower class less educated people with simple talking points spewed all over fox news and reinforce their fears of other people coming in and taking what is theirs. However, the propaganda does not just target low income people, they also strive to capture the minds of the future leaders of the nation. The Koch Brothers, a pair of ultra-conservative ultra-rich dudes who want to change the way economics gets taught. The family has an interesting history with capitalism, and really help to prove that you can be both scrupulous and a good business man. For example Fred Koch, the brother’s father, made a fortune building oil fields for both Stalin and Hitler. He probably wasn’t a Nazi, but morally that’s not a very high bar. There of the brothers also blackmailed the eldest son, Fredrick, out of his shares for being gay, because that’s good business. When you see an opportunity exploit it.

The brothers having learned the ways of “good business” have made it their mission to make sure young college students going into finance and economics only learn the classical economic view of things while slowly erasing the influence of John Maynard Keynes, my personal favorite economist. They do this by donating millions in total to colleges in exchange for changes in curriculum. They do it with a minuscule amount of money per institution as well. In exchange for maybe a couple hundred thousand, these institutions agree to preach the libertarian gospel, and hand over their students non .edu email addresses. In some instances they also expect to be given some power over which faculty members get hired. With the economic ideology becoming increasingly conservative, the push on college campuses is particularly scary. What will be considered liberal in the future? How much more conservative can American policy become? If the nation’s future economists are being influenced by these absurd ideals, when the nation is in a rescission the best idea they’ll have is to cut government funding and maybe taxes, because that makes sense. If this trend is allowed to continue unchecked economic policy will get scary within my life time.

Economic issues are at the heart of many of our current political struggles, even the ones that may seem unrelated to the financial market. Issues with immigration are linked to the fear many people have of not being able to find a job because they are being undercut by a person who is willing to do the job for far less. People are scared that if more people are moving in or if more people are joining the work force there will be more competition for jobs and therefore less pay. The political right uses this fear of losing economic resources to promote their goals. They make individuals believe that by instituting both harsh economic and social policies individuals will have their slice of the American pie protected.

The thing the conservative right has become best at is propaganda, they target lower class less educated people with simple talking points spewed all over fox news and reinforce their fears of other people coming in and taking what is theirs. However, the propaganda does not just target low income people, they also strive to capture the minds of the future leaders of the nation. The Koch Brothers, a pair of ultra-conservative ultra-rich dudes who want to change the way economics gets taught. The family has an interesting history with capitalism, and really help to prove that you can be both scrupulous and a good business man. For example Fred Koch, the brother’s father, made a fortune building oil fields for both Stalin and Hitler. He probably wasn’t a Nazi, but morally that’s not a very high bar. There of the brothers also blackmailed the eldest son, Fredrick, out of his shares for being gay, because that’s good business. When you see an opportunity exploit it.

The brothers having learned the ways of “good business” have made it their mission to make sure young college students going into finance and economics only learn the classical economic view of things while slowly erasing the influence of John Maynard Keynes, my personal favorite economist. They do this by donating millions in total to colleges in exchange for changes in curriculum. They do it with a minuscule amount of money per institution as well. In exchange for maybe a couple hundred thousand, these institutions agree to preach the libertarian gospel, and hand over their students non .edu email addresses. In some instances they also expect to be given some power over which faculty members get hired. With the economic ideology becoming increasingly conservative, the push on college campuses is particularly scary. What will be considered liberal in the future? How much more conservative can American policy become? If the nation’s future economists are being influenced by these absurd ideals, when the nation is in a rescission the best idea they’ll have is to cut government funding and maybe taxes, because that makes sense. If this trend is allowed to continue unchecked economic policy will get scary within my life time.

The brothers having learned the ways of “good business” have made it their mission to make sure young college students going into finance and economics only learn the classical economic view of things while slowly erasing the influence of John Maynard Keynes, my personal favorite economist. They do this by donating millions in total to colleges in exchange for changes in curriculum. They do it with a minuscule amount of money per institution as well. In exchange for maybe a couple hundred thousand, these institutions agree to preach the libertarian gospel, and hand over their students non .edu email addresses. In some instances they also expect to be given some power over which faculty members get hired. With the economic ideology becoming increasingly conservative, the push on college campuses is particularly scary. What will be considered liberal in the future? How much more conservative can American policy become? If the nation’s future economists are being influenced by these absurd ideals, when the nation is in a rescission the best idea they’ll have is to cut government funding and maybe taxes, because that makes sense. If this trend is allowed to continue unchecked economic policy will get scary within my life time.

Diversifying Media

Right now we are seeing a huge shift in how young people in particular view news. The last time I opened a newspaper was for a project in high school and I make fun of my parents for watching normal cable news. Instead I like many young people are moving towards outlets which represent who I am and are always willing to call bullshit. As Couldry points out in chapter three people gravitate towards those who resemble themselves and by preventing many people from having representation the media has been “softly” discriminating against them by showing mainly white, male, upper-class people as the arbiters of news. Due to the fact large swaths of the population have not been represented by the media so they have found it necessary to find and create alternate news sources which represent them. This means both ideologically and demographically. Late night stand up hosts have started doing a better job covering the news hen actual reporters in large part because, hosts like Sam Bee have been putting their money where their mouths are and hiring a diverse group of people who reflect the demographics of people they are trying to reach.

When it is possible to relate with a host the viewer is more likely to trust them, obviously, which helps expand the conversation and allows everyone a seat at the table. When the panel on tv is made up of old men in suits no one is going to want to listen, meaning that no one will engage, so they can do whatever they want. This is no longer passing so groups like the young Turks and other small online media outlets are giving people who had not previously had voices and representation in news media what they want to see.

 

Necesary trouble

Throughout Necessary Trouble Jaffe draws connections between dozens of small movements throughout the country routed in the same set of economic and social frustrations. The spark for these movements was the 2008 financial crisis which led directly to two incredibly different movements, the tea party and Occupy Wall street.

theteaparty

By Fibonacci Blue, Via Flicker Tea Party Express at the Minnesota capital 

Occupywallstreet1

By Michael Fleshmen, Via Flicker Occupy Wall Street March 16, 2012

Occupy searched for an answer to the nation’s financial collapse and saw Big Business and government Fiscal policy as the main issue. The tea party quickly devolved into racist scapegoating and blaming of the poor instead of doing anything really new or interesting. I think this is because of who created these movements. The tea party, as Jaffe wrote, came from the white middle class. These were not the people most affected by the finical collapse and many of them were able to continue living perfectly normal uninterrupted lives. They were called to action by fear of losing everything they had and not because they already had or because they felt like there was nothing to lose. The tea party was convinced that immigrants and minorities would come and try and take some of the ever shrinking pie. They blamed the poor for taking on more debt than they could afford possibly because they didn’t see how the poor were tricked into borrowing more or possibly because the implications of systemic screwing over of the poor and middle class is far more scary than the idea that some low lives on the bottom messed up the economy. As I wrote about in my first post I believe that the Tea Party’s response is short sighted at best and at worst downright cruel. In order to fix the issues brought up in 2008 we need to work together and not drive larger schisms between demographics because we are always more powerful together.

Both of these two very different responses to the finical crisis in 2008 continue to have a political presence. Donald Trump is now president after leading the Obama birther conspiracy and running a campaign based on continuing to blame immigrants and people with the least amount of power in our system for all the nations’ woes. He is fanning the flames of white middle class fear at every opportunity to get us to turn a blind eye towards the policy and regulatory decisions which has been harming middle and lower class Americans.

Trump Pepe

From Know your meme, a picture of Trump as Pepe retreated by trump

Although this ultra-right wing ideology seems to be dominating much the highest seats in government the progressive left wing which formed occupy is still pushing back. This more progressive branch has been organizing labor movements, social change, and protests ever since Occupy. As I wrote about in my second post people who helped organize Occupy went on to help Our Walmart, a group dedicated to improving working conditions and wages at the nation’s largest employer. They organized strikes and put together class action lawsuits to stop injustice in the corporation because the government would not step in to protect the everyday Walmart employee, they had to do it for themselves.

This labor movement eventually began to help with the fight for 15 and a living wage and the fight to put an end to employment discrimination. Even though this type of action lost many people their jobs it has been fairly successful forcing the company to raise its minimum wage to $9 an hour.  This worker movement caught on more quickly in some parts of the nation like Seattle where a prominent socialist political party was formed and has gotten people elected.

I think that the most important work done by this group of post-Occupy protesters and organizers is happing now, so unfortunately Jaffe didn’t get to cover it in this book. My third post was about how hopeful this book made me feel when reflecting on it. This is because after Occupy occurred we never stopped organizing, when the book ended with Kshama Sawant it wasn’t the end of the story. Since the book was published last year we have seen Donald Trump become president, but we have also seen the largest single protest in American history in response to that. Due to this we are now as a base energized and ready to fight. We are ready to hit the streets and protest when it is time. We are more vigilante than ever before of what laws are being passed and what policies are being enacted. Trump’s approval rating has already begun to drop drastically from the day he was elected, with an abysmally low rating. By the end of this presidency I believe it will be very difficult for anyone with two eyes and a brain to say that it is the immigrants’ fault we are failing, or it’s the poor people screwing up the economy. I think it will be a hard couple of years, but after this it won’t happen again.

Finally forced together

The end of Necessary Trouble really made me feel more hopeful than anything else. For a long time the far right has been better at getting their propaganda out then the left, which is why we all still learn socialists are bad in grade school, but the left is starting to pick up slack. In Seattle Sawant figured out a way to make socialism’s answers to complex economic problems understandable and more importantly palatable. Right now we’re on the verge of seeing a bill which would create a single payer healthcare plan in the US could be introduced to the congress fairly soon. With the current national leadership many things are scary, but this book made me realize that there are a lot of activist groups who are ready to rumble. The ground work in many cases has already been set for a resistance to the current regime and this is giving all these groups the labor organizers, the Black Lives Matter Activists, the feminists, and the socialist one person to fight against. In the long run I think this will necessitate a more intersectional view of all of these movements which will make them all much stronger. So far it seems as long as together we hold firm through the next two years and make it to the mid-terms we will be ok, but only if all these movements stick together. We can no longer allow issues like race and gender to divide the labor movement because when that happens we all lose.

Pushing Back against Goliath

When you google Our Walmart the first result is a website that is anti-union and work center. They use colorful analogies I appreciate like “wildcat walk out” and “Astroturf” movement instead of grass roots. This group seems to believe that the organizers who are working for a $15 minimum wage, a full time schedule, company healthcare reform, more training on how to enforce protocol so it is done fairly, protection based on race, sex, and gender and sexual identity, among other things, are doing so out of spite.  Our Walmart has laid a concise list of their demands online and hopes not only to improve the lives of Walmart employees but of all retail workers in the country.

Our Walmart is a labor organization that is forced to go up against one of the strongest and largest corporations in the world. It is the largest, non-governmental, employer in the country and has nearly 2.2 million employees worldwide. As the video at the end illustrates Walmart spends a great deal of time and money fighting unions. They spend a great deal of time and money trying to convince their employees that they don’t need to organize to level the playing field between a multi-million dollar company and an individual employee. They even go so far as to say that their employees have been asked if they wanted to unionize before and have turned down the opportunity. They do not mention that this is due to Walmart’s anti-union policies and as Jaffe points out they do this more nefariously sometimes. She points of in Necessary Trouble that in 2005 a Walmart store in Quebec voted to unionize and was promptly closed and that this was a violation of Canadian Labor law according to a ruling in 2014 (Jaffe 87). In their Anti-Union video Walmart also misleads their employees on their job security and benefits packages and uses this as a logical reason for why the employees do not need to organize.

Our Walmart pushes back against the monolithic employer using a Facebook page to organize and share memes about the struggles of retail work. Most of the reporting I found on the group was done by sympathetic left wing reporters although there were a few vehemently anti-union groups reporting on the matter. They tended to come up higher in the google results because those fighting unions generally have more power than those fighting for unions.

It is Necessary that we work together to Make Trouble

 

yourmorgageisnotmyproblem-from-michelle-malkin-march-5-2009

Your Mortgage is Not my problem from Michelle Malkin 5 March 2009

In chapters 1-3 of Necessary trouble by Sarah Jaffe she talks about activists’ movements large and small, spanning the political spectrum from the tea party to Occupy Wall Street. Before reading this I was fairly familiar with most of these movements, particularly the big ones. I spent an afternoon at Occupy Wall Street in New York when I was fourteen and I remember going on weekend trips with my dad to local offshoots of the movement. I was much less familiar with the offshoots of Occupy in other places. Before this I had never heard of Occupy homes, a Minnesota based organization which used community organizing to help families from being tossed out of their homes.

 

I think the most important thing Jaffe highlights is that people have more power when we work in groups then when we try to stand up on our own or when we let our neighbors get foreclosed on. The banks screwed us all, but the middle class, particularly the upper middle class, blamed the lower class for being dumb and greedy enough to fall for their tricks. The tea party formed by taking their angry and fear and directing it at the lower class who did nothing to intentionally destabilize the economy. From the tea party we got things like government shutdowns and hissy fits over raising the debt ceiling to pay for essential government programs. The tea party divided the middle and working class which allowed us all to continue to get screwed by huge corporations and the super-rich. When Occupy brought together the 99% of us who are not super rich, they were slightly disorganized, but they managed to effect real change. They were able to force banks to allow people to stay in their homes, together they bought and then forgave tons of loans borrowed by people at a defunct for profit college, and they occupy Republic Windows and doors ensuring that all the employees being laid off would get their severance pay.  When we work together collectively instead of working against each other the quality of life improves for all of us and we have a better sense of security knowing that our neighbors will have our backs if we lose our jobs or have a bad year.

An overview of posts on the Rise of the Blogosphere

When I started this project I unwisely told all my friends about it. They proceeded to ask me if it was 2003 again. Is live journal still a thing? How popular are you on Myspace? And so on and so forth. I wondered the same thing even though Barlow insists that the main idea of the blog has been around since before American Democracy. I talked about this a great deal in my third post, Common Sense and Blogging. I defend my blog by talking about how the mainstream media has been letting citizens down by being bought out by corporations in my fourth and fifth posts and I suggest the emerging media reliant on crowd sourcing as a solution. These two posts are really what I found to be the most important part of Barlow’s book. My second post is about how the media chose to focus on mundane topics which is a symptom of their cooperate corruption. Both my first and last posts are about why I joined this class and some small ideas for the future of my blog after this class is over.

Baby steps into the blogosphere

 

Photo by me. I am this kitten, small and a little clueless.

In chapters 13-15

Rise of the Blogosphere Barlow talks a little bit about his baby steps into blogging and how he slowly decided how best to use his blog. The fact that it started out as sporadic mumblings makes me feel a little better, as this class is my first baby step into citizen journalism and blogging. It made me think more about what I want my blog to be after I’m done with this class. As I mentioned in my first post I’m hear trying to find my voice online, even though I’m a fairly shy introverted person. It makes me feel better that Barlow didn’t know exactly what he wanted to do with his blog when he started it either. Instead it seems like he saw a niche he wanted filled, international news, and found a way to fill it after looking for a long time. I admire that he didn’t just give up his blog and start a new one and instead let his existing one morph. Many would be nervous to let people see their emotional ramblings and scatterbrained posts when they want to be taken more seriously.

I did have one issue with this part of the book though, although it mentioned that the blogs could sometimes get nasty, the full magnitude of how nasty wasn’t really brought up. Now the book was published in 2007 before people were getting doxxed, but the darker parts of the internet were still pretty bad in the early 2000’s. I would have liked a little more information on how to protect yourself as a blogger and on how to deal with more of the hate most people experience online.